Memphis: Kalitta Motorsports preview

Team Kalitta rolls south to Tennessee for rockin' NHRA event in Memphis Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2004 - This Friday, Aug. 20, is a milestone day for Doug Kalitta that does not involve racing statistics - He turns 40. Doug and his Kalitta ...

Team Kalitta rolls south to Tennessee for rockin' NHRA event in Memphis

Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2004 - This Friday, Aug. 20, is a milestone day for Doug Kalitta that does not involve racing statistics - He turns 40. Doug and his Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic are hoping to celebrate his birthday on Sunday in the birthplace of rock 'n' roll with a win by any of them at this weekend's O' Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, Aug. 20-22, in Memphis, Tenn. The event is the 17th on the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series 23-event tour.

Top Fuel championship runner-up in 2003 Doug Kalitta, 39, driver of the bright red Mac Tools flagship rail, has 18 career national event victories with three so far this season (Chicago 1, St. Louis and Sonoma) in six final-round appearances. He is cousin to teammate Scott Kalitta and nephew of team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. Doug's entry is overseen by co-crew chief Rahn Tobler, who helped wrench wife Shirley Muldowney's race cars to three NHRA championships until her retirement in 2003. Doug holds the quickest (4.420 sec. - Chicago 1, 2004) and fastest (335.57 mph - Las Vegas 1, 2004) marks in NHRA history. He currently sits in second in championship points, 122 off of the lead.

Two-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 42, driver of the radically painted red and black Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster, has 16 career national event victories (15 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car), with his lone win this season so far coming in Denver. Kalitta Motorsports team manager Jim Oberhofer serves as co-crew chief on Scott's fan-favorite hot rod. Scott, the son of Connie, is currently fifth in championship points, 397 shy of the lead. After a multi-year retirement, Scott returned to the Top Fuel ranks in 2003 at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

Journeyman racer "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, 42, pilots the third dragster from Kalitta Motorsports. Grubnic's Red Line Oil machine has made the final round in four of the past five events. Jim Oberhofer's younger brother Jon has the responsibilities of co-crew chief on Grubnic's race car. Jon is in his rookie season at the position. Grubnic, a native of Brisbane, Australia, has reached the final round six times in his ten-year career but has yet to take home a title trophy. He now sits in fourth position in points, 324 from the lead. His first career No. 1 qualifying effort came in Memphis in 1999.

In the past five NHRA national events, Kalitta Motorsports' three race cars have made an incredible seven final round appearances.

Qualifying for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field begins with two sessions Friday for the professional classes and two more again Saturday.

Please visit www.kalittaracing.com for more information about Kalitta Motorsports.

--km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Jesse James